Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's Unique About Pastoral Counseling?

By checking out this blog, I assume your interest and involvement in pastoral counseling, whether you are a pastor, seminary student, or full-fledged pastoral counselor with years of experience under your belt. In any case I extend you a warm welcome, for I see us as colleagues in the challenging enterprise of pastoral counseling.

Pastoral Counseling

Why does pastoral counseling hold a place of high regard in my heart? 

Pastoral counseling extends the saving work of the Holy Trinity into every new generation, adapting itself to people’s culture and lives in every nook of the globe. 

This means to me that the Father calls individuals into this vocation, the Son inspires his Word and inner power, and the Holy Spirit communicates creatively with those who are brought under their care. 

Christian Trinity

Not that pastoral counseling can’t be exasperating and exhausting at times, because it can. Counseling other human beings is emotionally intensive, intellectually demanding and spiritually draining, since it requires the processing of an immense amount of human pain and suffering

That said, something about working with the living God to care for those who are hurting strikes me as thrilling. There is always something new to learn about God, people, and ourselves, as we carry on the adventure of interfacing Christ’s fullness of redemption with pressing human needs.

Pastoral counseling is unique because there is no end point or final statement, but rather an ongoing engagement, every new insight adding to the pastoral counselor's resourcefulness and wisdom, every new technique bringing new possibilities for healing and helping.

I also hold a long-standing belief, held for forty-five years now, that Christian doctrine supports the ministry of counseling. The church is an extraordinary place for counseling to occur, since pastors witness lives unfolding across the generational boundaries. They enjoy the unique opportunity to guide individuals seeking one or more sessions of pastoral counseling into deeper dialogue with themselves, others, and God.

Growing in Christ

I'm sure you would agree that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a person grow in Christ, in part as a consequence of your pastoral counseling. 

And I would add that I find an equal satisfaction in writing the Compass Series books, summing up a lifetime of counseling into principles and possibilities that might be of service to you.


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